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In the rotunda of the Pinakothek der Moderne, in Munich, a large circular screen, roughly the size of the cupola above it, hangs at an angle above the visitors’ heads. The screen is a receptacle for the light and weather conditions outside the museum: on sunny days, its surface displays an ever-changing, amorphous composition of light and shade whenever direct sunlight illuminates the rotunda from above. The light is reflected onto the screen by an array of circular, warped mirrors and special colour-effect filters installed on the north side of the rotunda. Free-hanging rings of reflective glass and colour-effect filters add polytonal complexity to the circles and arcs of light that move across the screen’s surface. The surprisingly fast-moving, dynamic shapes and projections reflect the earth’s constant motion on its axis and around the sun, situating the visitors in relation to the globe and the universe beyond. As visitors move up the stairs to the upper floors, they can see the work from new angles and the mechanisms responsible for the reflections.

Since the artwork uses no electricity to create what the artist calls an ‘analogue movie’, at night and on overcast days – when there is no direct sunlight – the screen goes dark and the artwork becomes dormant. 

Eliasson says: “From spring to autumn 2022, the sun and earth work together to create Sonnenenergie 22. As the earth’s position in relation to the sun changes, the screenplay evolves, making the artwork constantly new. The unfolding narrative amplifies the movement of the earth, so that the invisible motion becomes visible. When you encounter the artwork on a sunny day, it is your own movement that you see as you travel on this spaceship earth through the vastness of space.”

Projection screens (Molton, PVC), wood, stainless steel, steel, glass mirrors and rings, color-effect filter glass and rings, daylight